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Manchester City just about managed to maintain the upper hand in the Premier League title race after an electrifying 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium in Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash against rivals Liverpool — but it could have all been so different.
Hearts were in mouths at one point when City goalkeeper Ederson almost succumbed to a costly gaffe when his attempt to coolly play out from the back came within inches of backfiring on him.
With Liverpool forward Diogo Jota bearing down on him at pace, Ederson took a heavy touch under pressure and almost steered the ball across his own goal line, only to sidefoot the ball clear to a teammate in the nick of time.
Despite his hair-raising brush with calamity, the Brazil international was able to make light of the incident in the aftermath as he posted a still image of his goal-line clearance along with a thumbs-up emoji.
Several fellow players cropped up in the comments section, with City full-back Joao Cancelo commending his teammate for his “coldness” while former City No. 1 Joe Hart also added a couple of hand clap emojis in a show of solidarity with his successor at the Etihad.
Real Madrid star and compatriot Vinicius Junior exclaimed that watching Ederson’s clearance made him “very nervous,” Tottenham Hotspur Brazilian defender Emerson admitted that he “got scared” and Wolves right-back Nelson Semedo sarcastically joked that there was “no tension” in the moment.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 4, 2019
Ederson’s may well prove to be a pivotal moment in the 2021-22 title race in much the same way as John Stones’ remarkable goal-line clearance in a clash between the two sides back January 2019.
On that occasion, the City defender cleared a goal-bound effort with just 11 millimetres to spare before his side won the game 2-1 and went on to pip Liverpool to the 2018-19 title by a single point.
Thankfully for City, Ederson was able to repeat history by narrowly evading Jota’s outstretched boot at close quarters, maintaining City’s one-point lead at the summit with seven games remaining this season.
The two title rivals may have already played each other twice in the league this season, but they will clash again this weekend when they meet on Saturday in the FA Cup semifinals at Wembley (stream LIVE at 10:30 a.m. ET on ESPN+ in the U.S.)